By Jayant Thatte and Shivani Patel
Internships are an integral part of the curriculum of an engineering student. An Internship acts as a positive point on the student’s resume, besides giving the student a valuable experience in the field. It is natural, therefore, that in this age of cut-throat competition, many students are of the opinion that a summer without an internship is considered as a summer “wasted”. Consequently, there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction, debate and discussion on the decision passed by the senate in the beginning of this semester to strictly enforce 12 months as the minimum mandatory duration of Dual Degree Project (DDP) for all Dual Degree students.
“It all started with some students from the mechanical department committing suicide after they got an extension due to unacceptable quality of their DDPs,” said Raaj Rohan Reddy (Academic Affairs Secretary). “The administration decided to probe into the cause of these suicides. Four committees were formed, which included the Head of Departments (HoDs) of all departments. After a detailed investigation and after taking into consideration opinions from several students and faculty members, it was concluded that students were unable to bring out a decent quality project because they started working very late. The departments also pointed out that the quality of the present DDPs was far inferior to that of the B.Tech projects from ten years ago. Hence the senate was forced to take this decision.” He adds,“The 12 month DDP rule has always been there. The senate has just decided to make the implementation stricter.”
As a part of the implementation, all Dual Degree (DD) students are required to report to their respective departments on June 01, 2012 (and the project will conclude on May 31st of the next year). Since the previous semester ends only on May 15, 2012, final year DD students get only fifteen days of summer break, essentially destroying any scope of internship during the final year summer.
The main complaint which DD students have is that most of the major companies in core as well as non-core sectors recruit only pre-final year students for internships, so DD students cannot apply for these in their 3rd year. Thus most DD students apply for internships in their 4th year. They require permission from their project guide, faculty advisor and HoD for the same. However, in most departments, students choose their DDP guide only by January, which is too late to apply for most internships.
Navneeth Nair (DD student, Department of Electrical Engineering) pointed out, “Most of the companies offer pre-placement offers (PPOs) only to pre-final year students. Hence all DD students will completely miss out on the opportunity of getting a PPO.” Another DD student said, “This senate decision came as a sudden surprise to many of us. Had we known it in advance, we could have planned our previous summers accordingly. Hence, I feel that the rule makes sense only if it is implemented from the batch which is currently in their first year (i.e. 2012 batch onwards).” To this a professor from the Electrical Engineering department replied “I don’t see why the rule should come as a surprise. It has always been there in the institute’s rulebook.”
Prof. Pushpavanam (HoD, Department of Chemical Engineering) said, “We do not want to deny any student the opportunity to work in an industry. If the guide agrees, then there really is no issue. The Chemical Engineering Department is going to be very flexible when it comes to this. However, if the DD student wants to undergo an internship in finance or management or any other non-core sector, then it is against our interest.”
Sumit Patil (Branch Councillor, Department of Mechanical Engineering) summarised the current state of the issue: “As a solution, it is now decided that students can apply for internship before choosing their project guide. However, the decision regarding allowing the selected student to actually join the company/university will be taken by the respective departments on a case-by-case basis, after consent from the student’s project guide, faculty advisor and HoD.” This decision allows pre-final year DD students to apply for internships without the fear of getting blacklisted by the placement office.
The issue still continues to evolve with meetings and discussions taking place at different levels. The current placement team is also making efforts to convince companies to consider 3rd year DD students too for internships.